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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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rates in the developing areas. However, there is no firm evidence up to this time that such reductions in the birth rate have yet occurred among the mass illiterate and impoverished populations of Asia, Latin America, and Africa; therefore, the projection based on continuing present fertility cannot be dismissed as impossible. In this discussion the U.N. high variant projection will be used. It should be stressed, however, that the discussion and the conclusions reached would not differ significantly if the medium projection were used.
On the basis of the high projection the population of the world as a whole would increase to 7 billion by the year 2000; in other words, it would double during the rest of this century. Comparing anticipated growth in the second half of this century with actual growth during the first half highlights the effect of declining mortality, especially in the less developed areas. Between 1900 and 1950, world population increased by less than 1 billion persons. Between 1950 and 2000, according to the high projection, world population will increase by 4.5 billion persons. That is, the absolute increase in the population of the world during the second half of this century may be four and one-half times as great as that during the first half of the century. During the second half of this century, there could be a greater increase in world population than was achieved in all the millennia of human existence up to the present time.
Projections for Developed and Less Developed A reas
Of special economic and political import for the rest of this century is the difference in the rate of population growth between the developed and the developing areas. The United Nations high projections indicate the developing areas would have a total population of about 5.4 billion persons by 2000, whereas the developed areas would reach about 1.6 billion. (See Table 2.)
According to these projections, then, the less developed areas with a population of 2 billion in 1960 would increase by some 3.4 billion persons by the end of the century, or by 170 percent. In contrast, the developed areas would increase by only 598 million persons, or by about 60 percent. The population increase in the developing areas would be over five times as great as that in the more developed areas. Moreover, the developing areas would increase in the last 4 decades of this century by a number of persons about as great as the population of the globe in 1968.
In 1960, about two thirds of the world population lived in the developing areas and only one third in the developed. By 2000, it is possible that the population in the presently less developed areas would have increased to 77 percent of the world's total, and that the population in the developed areas would have shrunk to 23 percent.
According to the high projections, there would be great variations in